I know my passing this information along might seem self serving, but the truth is, the editor you need might not be me.
First, why does every serious writer need an editor?
- We have blind spots when it comes to our own writing
- Our family and friends will love what we write, no matter how good it is
- Our family and friends may not be able to tell us how to fix weak spots
- Fiction without glaring errors is more apt to be the kind readers talk about
- Critique partners, while helpful, may not have the knowledge or experience or ability to analyze what will move our fiction to the next level
If these things are true, and if Ms. Sansevieri is right, how should a writer go about picking an editor? According to Lauren Hidden of The Hidden Helpers, there are a few basics someone looking for editing needs to consider:
- Objectivity–someone who isn’t so close they will overlook mistakes because they are too afraid of losing relationship if they say what they really think.
- Knowledge–a person who knows your kind of project and who knows what changes to suggest
- Experience–an editor who other writers can recommend or endorse
- Price–an editor who offers services within your price range
- Service–someone who provides the type of editing you require
- Time frame–a person who can complete the work within the time period you specify
I think along with “Time frame” I’d add, “availability.” If you need your work edited at once and the person you contact has five other clients ahead of you, then you’d be wise to look for someone else.
I’d also recommend you do some comparative shopping. In the sidebar here at Rewrite, Reword, Rework, you’ll find a list of qualified editors. Some of those may also have links to other editors you may wish to investigate.
In other words, one editor does not fit everyone, nor are all editing services priced or structured in the same way. By doing your homework, you’ll have a much better chance of finding the editor that fits you and what you write. And that should be your goal.